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Custom Cultural Differences in America essay paper
America is a very large country with many different and varied cultures. It prides itself in having a varied composition of different races and tribes. There are several race groups in America as follows: the Whites, African Americans, Hispanics among others. Due to this varied composition in the cultures of the country, there tends to be a pull, towards which race is superior to the others. This is also available in the intelligence testing among these different races. As this is the main issue in this paper, it discusses the main differences among the races in America and the subsequent causes and effects of the same (AERA et al., 1999).
Some races show high intelligence test scores as compared to their peers. Researches in the American population reveal that the Whites score much above the rest of the minority in these tests. This is evident in most of the performance ratings among the same individuals in their lifetime. This is right from elementary school through to the higher levels of education. This is practically evident in the disparity in the number of Americans, who pursue the competitive courses like Medicine, Law, Engineering and Pharmacy among others.
Background of Intelligence Testing
Intelligence testing is a tool for the measurement of an individual’s intellectual capacity using very standard and up to date questions. This method is available in most settings in the world. It is the main measurement tool in the field of psychology (Ford, 2004, p. 17). It is mainly through sampling the performance on various intellectual tasks with a human touch and that are generally acceptable in the society as a whole. The tests include tasks like objective vocabulary, mathematical problems, memory of digits in short term and reading comprehension. It began in the early Darwinian era with the controversy over the facts on genetics and environment.
Intelligence Diversities in the United States of America
African Americans with IQs over 120 are evidently dismal in the American society. Research shows that the African Americans’ scores in IQs are below the 80 mark. They test about one deviation below that of the whites. There exists a very great difference in the experiences by the African-Americans and those by Whites immediately after high school. Their graduation rates were very low, while there were the high unemployment rates. They got low earnings as compared to the white males with similar educational backgrounds and were more likely to be under incarceration. The unemployment rates in the African-Americans were in double digits of about 17% as compared to the single digit among the Whites at about 6% or less.
A large percentage of the minority students earn a degree in a business related course. Twenty percent of them earned a business related profession, 10% majored in the social sciences and history, while another 10% in the other fields of practice. About 4% of the minority groups earned a master degree as compared to the 6% by the Whites. The wage gap between the Whites and that of the African-American continues to widen with the advent in time. In 2006, it was at about $5000 for the high school graduates and about $20,000 for the individuals with the master's degree (Ford, 2007, p.21).
The African-Americans have a very low score in their IQs as compared to the Whites, and subsequently, fewer numbers would go forth with their education and hence, less end up with good academic and professional qualifications. Few African-Americans take the Advanced Placement (AP) exams or even enroll in the two or four year programs after their high school. The average scores for the African-Americans were low in the SAT and ACT tests as compared to the other races. In 2008, over 10% of the African-Americans dropped out of school as compared to less than 5% among the Whites.
In the same year, more Whites took the APT as opposed the other races. Out of the students, who took the test, approximately 60% were Whites, 15% Hispanics, 10% Asians, and 55 African-Americans. In 2009, the average SAT scores were low among the African-Americans. The gap was 104 points in the English Language, 120 points in Math, and 99 points in Sciences. The average ACT scores for the African Americans still lagged behind as compared to the Whites. The gap between them and the Whites were 6 points in both English and Sciences, and 5 points in Math. During the same year, very few African-Americans were enrolled for either a two or a four-year program after high school. About 30% of them were enrolled for the courses as opposed to the 40 percent among the Whites.
Concerning the African-Americans and the factors that influence their low intelligence test scores, Ford (2004, p. 14) conducted a qualitative study, which involved interviewing 15 African-American males, aged 18-55, who had difficulties in attaining a decent household in rural North Carolina. These participants were in selection using the non-probability snowball sampling strategy. From the results of the data collected from the interviews, Ford (2004, p. 23) determined that 26% of the participants dropped out of high school because of academic factors (i.e. work too hard or teacher dislike). Non-academic factors were the result of 73% of the participants dropping out of high school (i.e. medical needs, peers' pressure, loss of focus, home problems, and hanging with friends).
Armour-Thomas and Gopaul-McNicol (1998, p.56), in another study related to the abovementioned, claimed that current educational policies inherently neglect the emotional, social and personal factors that contribute to the academic achievement, especially, among the African-American males. This study was available to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and took into consideration the family, social, emotional, personal, environmental and school factors. Relationships that are linear between these outside factors and academic achievements are in place. When considering personal and emotional factors, the data obtained measured emotional well-being and self-esteem, plans, nutrition, peer relationships, and substance use. The study concluded that the quality of life was the strongest emotional indicator of academic success among black males. Morning tiredness and feelings of loneliness also equated to the students, who were having difficulties in school. Academic success was also with the positive school engagement and future academic plans.
The socio-economic background of the individual and his or her disability are also factors in a very different perspective from the above. The students with disabilities are also more likely to withdraw. The American National Study puts it over 40% of the disabled youth that dropped out of school before completing any course. Race and ethnicity are the factors for the dropouts in high school (AERA et al., 1999).
The effect of the competitiveness of the teacher in different schools would give rise to low intelligence scores. This is because of the wrong management of the education system by these teachers. It takes place in the high school level in the United States education system. High school dropout is on the rise these days. It is in every part of the world. The highest rate of these dropouts is concentrated in less developed countries. It does not mean the developed countries are safe either. In America, dropouts are shooting very high. A 16 % of the 24 year olds are not in school. This means they have not earned either a high school credential, which could be a diploma, or an equivalent credential. This is otherwise to the low intelligence rate among most people in the current society.
The unbalanced rate of intelligence among the African-American public school students brings a clear picture that illustrates the institutional codes of practice that may have contributed to this phenomenon among the African-Americans in the United States of America. The existence of the advanced curricular offerings, student / teacher's relationships, grade retentions, are exclusionary discipline practices among other parameters are just but a few examples of the factors making the African-American to lag behind in the education system in the United States of America.
Disparities in the Performance in Tertiary Level of Education
Due to their low intelligence quotient, the African American males are more likely to drop out of school as compared to the Whites and subsequently, fewer numbers would graduate. Few African Americans take the advanced placement exams or even enroll in the two or four year programs after their high school. The average scores for the African Americans were low in the SAT and ACT tests as compared to the other races. In 2008, over 10% of the African Americans dropped out of school as compared to less than 5% among the Whites. In the same year, more Whites took the AP test as opposed the other races. Out of the students, who took the test, approximately 60% were Whites, 15% Hispanics, 10% Asians and 55 African Americans. In 2009, the average SAT scores were low among the African Americans (AERA et al, 1999). The gap was 104 points in the critical reading, 120 points in Math, and 99 points in writing. The average ACT scores for the African Americans still lagged behind as compared to the Whites. The gap between them and the Whites were 6 points in both English and reading and 5 points in Math. During the same year, very few African Americans enrolled for either a two or a four-year program after high school. Around 305 of them enrolled for the courses as opposed to the 40 percent among the Whites.
Consequences of the Intelligence Testing on the American Culture
This low intelligence quotient has several effects and consequences. Technological advancements have increased the need for a skilled labor force. This has transformed high school education into a requirement for entry into the job market. Since this has become a prerequisite for several entry level jobs, the economic effects of leaving high school without a diploma are severe. The potentiality of remuneration becomes another major concern. People with low intelligence are more likely to be unemployed than the graduates under the hands of unscrupulous employers, where they earn less as compared to what a high school graduate could have earned since the employers want to cut on costs (Bracken & Naglieri, 2003, p. 13).
Illiterates are most likely to receive public assistance than graduates, who do not continue further with their education. Illiterates comprised close to 50% of the heads of households in the social welfare organizations. Single parenthood may also result from most illiteracy. Frustrations of individuals, who have dropped out of school, may make them end up in prisons.
The system comprising of the compulsory education has really compromised this agenda in a worldwide scale. Since intelligence will be in terms of bookwork only, the whole humanity is at loggerheads with those, who can only exercise their intelligence through nature. This is a system with six classes a day, five days in a week, nine solid months in a year and a whooping 12 years in a lifetime. There are several individuals, who have not gone through this system, yet they are still prosperous than those, who went through the rigorous system. It is indeed very vivid that the public education system cripples the learning standards of children or pupils in these schools (Cole & Zieky, 2001).
Researchers indicate that he has been to several schools as a teacher within Manhattan. Both the top and bottom performing schools have fundamentally the same system of education. To the teachers, there is a lot of boredom in the schools since it is indeed very difficult to teach students, who were only interested in the grades that they were to attain. The teachers claim that the students are indeed rude and very difficult to deal with in terms of fostering the education system in the country. Most teachers believe that they should be doing some real work rather than just sitting back to watch the students go about this funny system of education.
The kids claim the work was stupid with teachers, who knew very little about their subject matters. The students were not interested in the learning process anymore. The students were equally bored just the same way their teachers were. Both the parties have the dispirited, whining and overworked attitudes. It is amazing because the teachers are also the same unwilling students during their years of schooling. The question is who is to be blamed for the circus.
There are several reasons to blame this unfavorable system of education in America. There is a federal role in education in America that has evolved for over sixty years. It means that no coherent federal policy in education existed before. When dealing with the education system in the United States, it is fundamental to know that NCLB is authoritatively at the helm of this education system (Ford, 2004, p. 42). The other factor contributing to this is the social and political advancements that are a menace to the public. Generally, the factors that have led to it are in five groups. These are: the national security and defense, international economic competitiveness, civil rights, religion and war on poverty. When dealing with national security and defense, the issues surrounding the World Wars come in handy.
The American Education System versus Intelligence
The education system in the United States has moved from the traditional model to the methods that address children’s multiple intelligences and are at the same time appropriate measures to different groups of learners. This is synonymous to the K12 education system. Teachers go a long way in learning how to teach the students and even in the process of assessing them. The assessment criteria do not cover the entire student population. This is because it is on tests and quizzes that may not work well with students, who think verbally.
The system asks different questions to students. It will help a lot in the end. It accomplishes about two goals. It allows students to express the various learning styles they have come across in class (Ceci, 41). It also helps in discovering various levels of thinking. The levels of thinking would be from recall of information to analysis, application and evaluation of the progress (Ford, 200 p. 23). Since each student has a different way of thinking, it is best to leave him to decide which course to take. The student is able to explain why he took the approach. He could also go ahead and explain why it worked for him. This kinesthetic question goes beyond the comprehension.
Most students prefer certain resources. Young children will want to learn with hands on method, but this system drives them to learning by listening in a couple of lessons. Some parents tell their children to emulate the better performing student that is a diligently wrong approach, as it may not work for that individual. Different individuals learn singularly differently. With the advancement in technology, learners can find a variety of resources regarding the instructional facilities. They can then select the right path that could work for them. It transforms the search of knowledge from an extrinsic one to the intrinsic. The learner becomes more motivated than his counterparts do because it is quite easier for them to learn.
The education in the country or even in the global arena can be better indeed in several ways. It must serve the interest of the individual. The success of a school is by producing students, who will help the community besides helping themselves. In order for students to maximize their potential, they need to do what is best for them (Ford & Joseph, 2006, p.35). Identification of the talents of each student will ensure that students learn what they can do best. Although the academics part of education is extremely important in a learning institution, other co-curricular activities are equally important. The co-curricular activities will ensure that the students identify their talents. To achieve this, funds must be available to the co-curricular activities. The school committee will distribute funds equally on music, arts, sports, arts, and other extracurricular activities. Students will then spend equal time both on the academics as well on their hobbies. There will be an improvement in the school if it is able to identify and nurture the talents.
Adequate learning facilities will ensure students’ better performance. Equip science laboratories with modern facilities that will ensure that students perform science experiments efficiently learning intensively. The library will have all the important resources, such as a broad assortment of books, magazines, journals, and other written resources. The written resources will cover all aspects of life (Whiting & Ford, 2006, p.11). The library will also have computers to access online information resources. I would ensure that each classroom has modern learning aids. The aids will include computers and projectors that will aid in learning of students using graphics. Exposing students to a variety of information ensures that the students have a wealth of knowledge on different issues. The information will be on issues that are far from the requirements of the curriculum. Therefore, the students will be able to solve different situations that life presents. Producing students, who can solve different life problems, will be an improvement in the school (Gregory, 2004, p. 56).
The council of the Great City Schools came up to help alleviate the intelligence measurement of different races in America. This is a coalition of about 65 of the country’s largest urban systems of education. The board of directors in this organization consists of the superintendent of schools and a board member from each of the schools and member cities. The executive committee is comprised of the very board members. The council provides an oversight to the education standards in the country (Armour-Thomas and Gopaul-McNicol, 1998, p. 71).
Its mission is to advocate for and assist in the improvement of the public education system in the wider country mainly in the large city schools. It provides insight to the members onto the matters of legislation, communications, research, instructional methods and management. It convenes two major conferences in the urban education improvement programs. It carries out the studies in the urban education conditions and trends and operates ongoing networks relating to personnel communications, research, technology and curriculum among other areas. This council was in the year 1956, and then incorporated in the year1961. It has its headquarters in the Washington D.C (Ford, 2007).
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